Factory Farms and State Policy

One of the most important environmental, economic and social issues confronting agricultural communities is the future structure and practices of the livestock industry.

The issue is whether livestock will be dispersed across the countryside on a variety of farms typified by local family ownership managing diversified farm operations, or produced in large, energy and capital-intensive confinement facilities that concentrate the animals and their wastes in vast quantities and concentrate economic power, wealth and control in the hands of a few absentee investors and shareholders.

At stake is the future of large parts of America’s rural environment, the health and prosperity of rural communities, economic opportunity for farm and rural families, and far-reaching questions about food safety and affordability.